The Hardtail had an emergency brake transplant today - and the Trance was the donor ... at least NOW i understand why the Mankele downhill a few weeks ago was so fast.
The good part about this is that i now can justify getting the extremely cool pink hope brakes for the Trance - how sexy is this:
More bad news from the bike shop was that this will be the hardtail's last expedition - it's swan song. The frame is moeg, and need to be replaced. That frame did far more than what is was designed for - i think the warning sticker on the bike mentioned something about not abusing the bike - i promptly removed it when i noticed. I might be able to squeeze the last bit of value out of it with commuting when I'm back - at least till I'm able to afford fixing it. Wolfie (my friendly bike mechanic from Linden Cycles) left a few cm at the top of the shock-thingy to enable me to reuse it on a different frame.
The good news from the bike shop was that the 'shock' diet worked for the hardtail - it now weighs in at 12.5 kg, and the total boxed bike, sleepingbag, tools and other non-hand-luggagable stuff weighs in at marginally less than 20 kgs. I might have to add a shock pump, though (i'm still researching the effects of altitude on shocks - more about that later.)
Now all i have to do is stay at home for a few weeks (AFTER Himalayas, of course) so that the credit card can recover so that I can get the brakeless Trance on the road again. And then start looking for a (preferably pink, but white will do) XTC frame for the hardtail. Which makes me wonder - when does 'the hardtail' stop being 'the hardtail' and become a hardtail - or at least 'another hardtail'? when you replace the wheels cos you need to go tubeless? when you replace the brakes cos the v-brakes just couldn't manage sabie's mud? the shock? the drivetrain? the saddle? the frame? what part of a bike defines the bike?